By Sam Gafford
Today, May 20th, is the 110th birthday of Everett “Busy” Arnold, one of the prime movers of the Golden Age of comics! And he was born in Providence, RI, to boot!
Growing up in Rhode Island, Everett had a nasty habit of talking in class which earned him the nickname, “busybody”. Shortened to “Busy”, it would stick with him for the rest of his life. After graduating from Brown University in 1921, “Busy” worked in various printing companies and was the Eastern sales representative for NYC’s Goss Printing Company during which time he sold presses to Eastern Color Printing which would later publish the first American comic book, Famous Funnies #1, in 1934.
After investing in several comic book enterprises, “Busy” formed his own company (Comic Favorites, Inc.) in collaboration with three newspaper comic strip syndicates. In 1937, “Busy” published Feature Funnies which mixed reprints of popular comic strips like “Joe Palooka” with new material purchases from the new comic “studios”. These “studios” were companies built solely to supply the exploding comics market with material that they produced and then sold to publishers. For most of his new material, “Busy” relied on the successfull Eisner and Iger studio. Unlike many other small publishers of the time, however, “Busy” also cultivated an ‘in-house’ staff of creators.